Northwestern entered Wednesday's game shooting an anemic 39 percent from the floor this season. Against the third-ranked defense in the Big Ten and the 14th-ranked team in the country, they shot 44 percent from behind the arc alone.
NU inexplicably found its offensive stroke, scoring 43 second-half points and upsetting the Badgers 65-56 at the Kohl Center. The Drew Crawford lead the way with a season-high 30 points on efficient 10-of-15 shooting, while Tre Demps scored 10 off the bench and Sanjay Lumpkin added 12 rebounds.
The first half followed the script of the usual Northwestern upset: grinding pace, tough defense and low scoring. Alex Olah ran into early foul trouble, but the Cats' interior defense, usually a liability, held its own against Wisconsin's frontcourt of Frank Kaminsky and Sam Dekker. Lumpkin had eight rebounds in the half, and Northwestern was down just 23-22 at the break.
The Wildcats put up their most dynamic half of the Chris Collins era in the second period. Northwestern went on a 30-9 tear after a timeout at the 16-minute mark, and nailed threes from Crawford, Demps and Jershon Cobb during a frantic two-minute span. Alex Olah added an unlikely trey as well, and despite a shaky close against Wisconsin's press, the Wildcats scooped their incipient season's biggest win to date with a 65-56 final.
The Cats held Wisconsin to just 26 percent shooting, and the Badgers failed to crack 60 points for the first time since Dec. 4.
Less than a month earlier, the Badgers thumped Northwestern by 27 in Evanston. Now, the Cats have their first-ever win in the Kohl Center, and have as many conference wins as the once-no. 3 Badgers. Northwestern sits sixth in the Big Ten and will play at Minnesota Saturday.